NFL Combine 2012: The Minnesota Vikings' 5 Biggest Scouting Combine Takeaways
The 2012 NFL Combine has finished up in Indianapolis, and now the Minnesota Vikings’ front office will sit down and go over with a fine-tooth comb all the information they gathered over the four-day process.
Hopefully Rick Spielman and his staff will take that information and come to some conclusions as to the direction they will take when the 2012 NFL Draft arrives on April 26th.
While we don’t know exactly what the Vikings are thinking, these last four days have given us some ideas as to what their mindset is currently.
Here are the five biggest things the Vikings have taken away from this year’s NFL Combine.
Everyone Can Finally Stop with the Vikings QB Talk
Listening to everyone from fans to experts talking foolishly about how the Minnesota Vikings should take a quarterback in the first round was driving me bat-s**t crazy.
All that talk was just ridiculous, dare I say ricauculous! (That’s right. I made up a new word.)
Thank God for the St. Louis Rams coming out and saying they’ll be trading the No. 2 pick in this year’s NFL draft—all but assuring that Robert Griffin III will be the second player taken and putting to rest all this craziness.
Note to the people who thought Minnesota would take a quarterback with their first pick: It was never going to happen. Ever.
Now the Vikings can just focus on what their best option has been all along with the No. 3 pick.
It will be interesting to see what Minnesota will do with Matt Kalil, Morris Claiborne and now Justin Blackmon all available.
Matt Kalil Will Be There at No. 3
Kalil showed off his athleticism this past weekend, posting the second best 40-time for linemen (4.99). He also put up 30 reps on the bench, showing he’s as strong as he is athletic.
With all the issues that Minnesota experienced on the offensive line this past season, it makes perfect sense to take a guy who can be Christian Ponder’s franchise left tackle for the next decade.
This kid is the real deal and should be the no-brainer choice at No. 3.
Vikings Interview Chris Rainey
Even if Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart didn’t have injury concerns heading into the 2012 season, the need for a third-down back is obvious.
Third-down backs should offer a change of pace with speed and the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield—like a Darren Sproles or a Reggie Bush.
Gerhart is much slower than A.P. and is obviously not as shifty, so there is nothing defenses are afraid of when he’s in the game.
Rainey is one of the quickest players in the rookie class and would offer a dimension the Vikings haven’t had since the days of David Palmer.
He measured in at 5’8” and 180 lbs, so size could be a concern, but if used in the right situations, Rainey could be deadly on offense and in the return game—making it a likely scenario where the Vikings take him if he’s still sitting there in the fourth round.
Wide Receiver Will Be a Focus
The Minnesota Vikings are expected to pick one or more from the crop, and it sounds like they will wait until after the first round.
There are a host of players that Minnesota will be targeting in Rounds 2 through 4.
Alshon Jeffery, who’s stock has been plummeting as of late, is an option in the early part of round two. Speed is an obvious concern with him and will continue to be, since he chose not to run the 40-yard dash at the combine.
One thing is for sure with this guy. He can go up and get it. He has amazing hands and will win most jump-ball situations.
Tommy Streeter turned heads with an official 4.40 40-time this past weekend. That’s fast. Especially for a 6’5” guy who weighs 219 lbs.
The only concern with Streeter is that he’s still very raw and doesn’t run crisp routes. This can be fixed, however, with good coaching.
Streeter’s combine may have pushed him into the bottom half of the second round, but if he’s there in the third, expect the Vikes to take a long, hard look at the speedy Hurricane.
Addressing the Secondary
Another major concern, as we all know, is the Vikings' secondary.
It’s looking like Cedric Griffin will be cut and Antoine Winfield could be as well—making big holes in the secondary even bigger.
There’s still no word as to what will happen with Chris Cook either, so that’s another issue this team faces.
With this being as big of a concern as the offensive line, I don’t see any way the Vikings can wait past the second round to start addressing this.
When the team is on the clock in the second round, Virginia cornerback Chase Minnifield will be available to take.
He has the all the tools to excel in a zone scheme at the next level, according to scouts at the combine.
That’s a perfect fit for the Vikings' Tampa-2 defense that Leslie Frazier so desperately wants to keep. Minnifield would be able to come in and contribute immediately.
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